Chicago White Sox and Chicago Cubs: Tourist Guide to the Windy City Teams
Major League Baseball is winding down for the year. Next year families will be planning road trips. Many American families often take in baseball games in the cities they stop along the way.
If your trip in 2012 brings you to Chicago, these slides should be useful.
While Chicago has two baseball teams, these teams are very different in their approach to the game and fans. I hope these slides clear up any questions.
White Sox Game Announcers
The White Sox announcers are led by Ken “Hawk” Harrelson, and his on air appeal is to blue-collar fans. There is rarely a mention about his baseball past. But there is plenty of excitement and a host of catch phrases designed to pump the fans up.
If you are a White Sox Fan you will hear things like, “You can put it on the board, YES!” If the White Sox are scoring plenty of runs in one inning you will hear “Don’t stop now boys!”
His catch phrases bring White Sox fans closer to the game. He shapes effectively the culture on the south side of Chicago.
Cubs Game Announcers
The Chicago Cubs announcers are led by Bob Brenly. Unlike Ken Harrelson with the White Sox, you will hear no catch phrases. His announcement style is aimed more toward the fan who is a borderline insider. The typical fan will hear more about his background toward lending creditability to his analysis.
A Chicago Cubs fan would hear the fact that Bob Brenly won a World Series with the Diamondbacks. His approach tracks with the culture of their fans that are often transplants from other cities and professionals.
Nothing in sports shapes the character of a team more than the fans. The fans within a city can either make or break certain players. If the player is aligned with their culture, he could become a hero despite the numbers.
If a player does not align with their culture, he can be shunned despite great numbers. Chicago has loyal fans on both sides of town. The next couple of slides will highlight the differences elsewhere.
White Sox Fans
White Sox fans are less likely to adopt under-performing players and cheer for them because they share the fans culture. White Sox fans are all about winning. They are pragmatic and will grant a player a couple of years to adjust.
After that point, all bets are off; the jeers will come and they will demand that this player exit the team. Take a walk around US Cellular Field and you will hear the Chicago accent in a more pronounced manner than at Wrigley Field. You will also see Chicago’s racial diversity on full display and at a level higher than at Wrigley Field.
It’s nothing to look to your right and ask a stockbroker: how many games are the White Sox out of it? Then look to your left and ask a guy wearing a Teamster Jacket: who is the new guy on the field? In a nutshell, this sums up the Chicago White Sox fans' culture.
On the other hand, the Chicago Cubs fans interact more like a frat party at Wrigley Field. If you are looking for diversity that reflects the city of Chicago, Wrigley Field is the wrong place to look.
If you are a baseball fan looking for knowledgeable fans, good luck. If you look to your left and ask anything, you might get a beer spilled on you.
The Cubs have a national audience due to the WGN broadcast and the early starts to their games. As a result, many tourists make Wrigley Field their first stop when it comes to baseball.
Many out-of-town recent transplants are drawn to Wrigley Field as well, because they often settle on the North Side of the city.
Among Cubs fans, there is such a mixture and a fracture that it’s hard to figure their fans out. Wrigley Field is more of an amusement park experience. As a result, this shapes what a Cubs fan is.
World Series Championship
2005 spiked the tension between Cubs and White Sox fans. For many years it was ignored. When the White Sox won in 2005 the tension bubbled to the surface.
The Cubs could no longer ignore putting a winning team on the field and rely on Wrigley Field for tourism. Chicagoans would now demand a winning team on the North Side.
The White Sox set a new standard. The White Sox would no longer play second fiddle to the Chicago Cubs when it came to sports coverage either.
In the lead up to winning the World Series in 2005, the White Sox put competitive teams on the field for over a decade. Winning was a culmination of years of building a winning team.
For many years, that fact was lost in the Chicago sports media. In many ways, the competitive teams after 2005 have been overlooked, and history is repeating itself.
The Chicago Cubs relationship with the World Series has been in the role of long-time sufferers. The Cubs have a pattern.
Every four years they put a winning team on the field, only to have those hopes dashed with horrible late playoff wild-card play.
In the end, Cubs fans are content with this pattern because they never openly challenge it.
Organizations shape teams from top to bottom, from the product on the field to the fans' experience.
The White Sox and Cubs are different in their organizational approach. The team results are based on these differences.
The Chicago White Sox are owned by Jerry Reinsdorf, Ken Williams is the General Manager, and Ozzie Guillen is the Head Coach.
These three men have a total commitment to winning, and fans see it in the new team motto revealed at the start of every season. The 2011 motto was: "All in." Past motto’s have said things like “win or die trying."
Winning is a commitment up and down the organization, and that mission is communicated openly to the fans.
The Chicago Cubs are owned by the Tom and Joe Ricketts, the General Manager is Randy Bush, and the Manager is Mike Quade.
There is no commitment to winning communicated to Chicago Cubs fans. The fans merely show up to the ballpark and hope for the best when it comes to the Cubs.
The choice for any tourist is clear. Spend your money on the South Side with the White Sox.
You will get a stadium with modern amenities, a team committed to winning, fans that reflect the diversity of the city and a true Chicago experience.